"This is the best reader ever assembled, with judiciously chosen excerpts from classic theory pieces, illustrative empirical applications, and elegant commentaries that bring out the causal mechanisms deployed in these selections. As proponents of the "lean and spare" school of sociology, Hechter and Horne strip sociology down to its unit ideas about the sources of social order, forcing students to engage with these ideas in their most elementary form. The end result: a vision of theory as a toolbox of explanatory mechanisms that provides the perfect antidote to theory conceived as a mind-numbing parade of theorists or mere exegesis and interpretation."
—David B. Grusky, Stanford University
"The hardest part of teaching social theory is to get students to move from discursive commentaries to analytic thinking. In Theories of Social Order we finally have a teaching text that meets this need. The selections provide broad exposure to classic and contemporary ideas, and the editors' lucid commentaries clarify the varieties of explanatory strategies. This is a book for those who value intellectual clarity and logical coherence, and who see theory as a form of analytic thinking that advances only through confrontation with evidence."
—Andrew G. Walder, Stanford University
"The biggest selling points of the textbook are the way in which the chapters are organized around theoretical themes rather than authors or schools of thought, as well as the clear introductory essays that precede each major part of the book. The uses of themes forces students to think about theories analytically and comparatively in a way that would not happen if each theoretical approach was presented separately. The introductory essays do a great job of pointing out the basic issues at stake for each view of social order, and how different theories agree or disagree with one another. Overall, I find that students tend to respond this much more creatively and are much less likely to engage in rote memorization than with a conventional book."
—Sun-Ki Chai, University of Hawai'i
"Theories of Social Order is perfect for the first-time theory teacher. Undergraduates tend to find theory abstract, confusing, and of no real use; therefore, most students never move beyond mere memorization and regurgitation of concepts. However, the book's well-organized structure and intercalary chapters allow instructors to focus instead on higher-order cognitions, such as analysis and application. By 'using' classical and contemporary theories to explain a phenomenon, students learn not only the content of the theories but more importantly what theories are and what they do."
—Maureen Eger, University of Washington